The Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) has a broad but patchy distribution extending from Egypt through Southwest, Central, and Southeast Asia, including the Indian subcontinent. Melanistic individuals have been reported from India and Pakistan. These cats prefer tall grass, thick bush, riverine swamps, and reed beds. There are few records from dense jungle. Jungle Cats are sometimes found around man-made fish ponds, reservoirs, and landscapes irrigated by sprinklers. They may also occur in drier, open forests and even sandhill desert and steppe habitats. They are rarely found above 1000 m elevation.
Jungle Cats feed mainly on small mammals (they occasionally take larger prey, such as Chital fawns). Birds are also a significant component of the diet, followed by frogs, lizards, snakes, insects, fish, and turtle eggs. Jungle Cats are stalk-and-ambush hunters. Most prey are captured on the ground, but Jungle Cats are able to climb and leap well. Although mainly nocturnal, Jungle Cats are often seen hunting at dawn and dusk.
The Jungle Cat thrives in agricultural landscapes and in many parts of its range is the most common felid, although in some areas these cats have been extensively hunted for their pelts.
(Sunquist and Sunquist 2009 and references therein)
- Sunquist, M.E. and F.C. Sunquist. 2009. Jungle Cat (Felis chaus). P. 165 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
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